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    Pa. law requiring rear-facing car seats until age 2 now in effect [ updated ]

    Pennsylvania's  new law reflects recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics based on research showing rear-facing seats better protect young children in car crashes.(Creativa Images / BigStock)

    Pennsylvania's new law reflects recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics based on research showing rear-facing seats better protect young children in car crashes.(Creativa Images / BigStock)

    As of today, Pennsylvania law mandates that young children ride in rear-facing car seats until age 2.

    The law reflects recommendations made by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2011. Research has shown such seats better protect young children in car crashes.

    “By being rear facing it allows, essentially, the back of the car seat to manage the head and the spine and to distribute the energy of the crash more diffusely across the head and the spine and to prevent the head from sort of whipping forward,” said Dennis Durbin, a doctor at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia doctor and lead writer on the policy.   

    Durbin said he was glad to see states following the best practices put forward by the academy.

    “I think it’s confusing to families when the law says something different than their doctors say or the law says something different than the federal government says,” he said. “And so I like these opportunities to align the laws with the best practice recommendations.”

    Since the academy issued its recommendations, he said, more and larger rear-facing seats have appeared on the market, giving families options.

    In the first year of the law, enforcement will be limited to verbal warnings.  

    New Jersey updated its law in September, 2015 to also mandate rear-facing seats until age 2. 

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